Yesterday, I eavesdropped on a conversation between two tourism colleagues. I shouldn’t admit that publicly, huh?
They discussed how Bend visitors arrive with detailed itineraries that have them hiking at sunrise, mountain biking by noon, and cramming in as many Bend Ale Trail stops as possible before the breweries close for the night.
While tackling a Bend bucket list at breakneck speed is a good way to maximize your vacation time, it’s also a good way to go home exhausted. This really hit home for me, since I just found myself with a diagnosis of Bronchitis and Laryngitis, along with orders from my doctor to slow down, pronto.
And I followed the order by enjoying a lazy, romantic weekend at Brasada Ranch (which I’ll tell you about in detail next week). For now, let’s look at how you can have your own glorious, lazy weekend in Bend.
Step one: Get up whenever the heck you feel like it
For me, that’s 6:30 a.m. I’m a morning person by nature, but my night owl husband can doze until 10ish. You know what’s great about that? I can grab a good book and a nice, big mug of tea. Then I can find a cozy chair on my hotel balcony or on a park bench by the Deschutes River, and I can sit for an hour or two sipping, reading, and looking up every few minutes to enjoy the glorious scenery.
It doesn’t sound like much, but that brief period of relaxation will recharge your batteries like nothing else in the world.
Go here to find a hotel or vacation rental in a spot that promises easy access to great scenery (which is pretty much anyplace in Bend, now that I think about it). Then go here to find a nearby teahouse or coffee shop (my personal faves are Townshend’s Tea Company, Lone Pine Coffee Roasters, and Thump Coffee).
And I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you where to find a book, though if you like risqué romantic comedy, I happen to know this one author… (that’s an inside joke, in case you don’t know what I do for a living outside Visit Bend!)
Step two: Do a lazy man’s hike
I’ve blogged plenty of times about how you kinda want to hike Pilot Butte (the 500-foot dormant volcano in the center of town) to really, truly experience it.
But you know what? That’s crap. If you’re pressed for time or just plain don’t feel like walking, there’s no shame in driving to the top. You’ll still get the killer 360-degree views and a great orientation to the city, and you won’t end up sweaty.
Keep in mind you’ll lose your option to drive up when they start the seasonal road closure in late-fall, but they’ll reopen it again in April once the threat of snow and ice has passed. You still have maybe six weeks to drive up in 2015, so make the most of your time right now.
Okay, so what if you’re up for an actual hike, but you don’t feel like exerting yourself too much? The Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a great place to find nice, flat, mellow trails that meander through beautiful desert landscapes but won’t leave you huffing and puffing.
If a lakeside hike is more your speed, I’m fond of the loop around Suttle Lake nearly any time of year, or hit the short trail circling Devils Lake during summer and late-Fall when the Cascade Lakes Highway is still open. Both are fairly flat and even, and will give you great views without a lot of altitude gain.
If you want to stick close to town, just hoof it along the flat, paved path that follows the Deschutes River through the Old Mill District (bonus: shopping time and post-hike snacks at one of the restaurants along the river!)
Step three: Plant your butt in a donut
Yeah, yeah . . . we all know you can paddle hard in a kayak or brave crazy whitewater rapids in the summer months, or get your powder fix with a side of adrenaline on Mt. Bachelor when winter rolls around.
But what if you’re not looking for recreation that involves anything more strenuous than sitting? Believe it or not, that’s do-able.
If it’s warm outside, rent yourself a big, squishy inner tube, plop your butt in it, and float the Deschutes River. You don’t even have to paddle if you don’t feel like it, and the whole thing just got a lot easier with the new Bend Whitewater Park (complete with a safe passage for floaters so you no longer need to get out of the river and hike your lazy butt around the Colorado Avenue Dam). Just keep on floating all the way to Drake Park.
When winter rolls around, head up to Mt. Bachelor and grab a pass for their Snowblast Tubing Park. They provide the tubes and the rope tow that will drag your lazy butt to the top of the slope over and over again until you can’t stand any more fun. You provide the squeals of joy (along with the aforementioned butt).
Step four: Make someone else drive you around
Okay, so maybe you’re feeling just ambitious enough that you wouldn’t mind snowshoeing or canoeing or exploring a Bend cave, but the idea of gathering up all the gear, figuring out where to go, and driving to the destination sounds like way too much work.
Wanderlust Tours to the rescue! Their naturalist guides will hook you up with everything you need to have an amazing outdoor adventure. You supply the paddle power or leg movements, and they’ll handle the rest!
But if that’s still too much effort and you’re more in the mood to swill beer, they can help you maximize your laziness power there, too. Book a trip on the Bend Brew Bus to tackle Bend Ale Trail in style. You’ll get a designated driver to and from your Bend hotel, plus they’ll throw in tours and tastings at four breweries and a snack at one of the stops.
If your beverage preferences are a bit more diverse, try their Coffee Roastery Tour or the Local Pour Tour (which hits one brewery, one cidery, one distillery, and one winery).
Step five: Have dinner come to you
Feeling exhausted by your day of doing nothing? If your hotel doesn’t offer on-site dining, why not have dinner delivered?
Bend Takeout Express is a local delivery service that will bring you food from nearly two dozen local restaurants. This goes beyond the realm of takeout Chinese or pizza delivery, and I’m always delighted to have several of my favorite local hotspots in the lineup.
Order a mezze sampler for two from Kebaba, then eat it in bed while gazing out the window at the mountains. Ask for burritos from Longboard Louie’s or luscious curries from Noi or go for a regular pizza delivery from Versante Pizza.
There are plenty more restaurants to pick from, and Bend Takeout Express will bring it to you for surprisingly reasonable rates. I can’t tell you how many times this service has made me weep with relief in the middle of a hectic move or a weekend when I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with feeding myself. It’s one of those little luxuries that can go a long way toward making you feel rested and relaxed.
Step six: Get that lazy booty pampered
I said earlier that I’ll tell you all about my romantic getaway to Brasada Ranch in next week’s blog post, but can I just say right now that their Couples Massage Lesson changed my life? Seriously, I’m still feeling tingly a week later.
I know it’s a splurge, but there’s something so divinely relaxing about treating yourself to a massage, facial, pedicure, or other spa service. Go here to find a roundup of day spas offering treatments guaranteed to propel you into a state of bliss. If you’re here with your honey, spots like Jinsei Spa and Anjou Spa offer couples’ massage sessions guaranteed to get you feeling groovy together.
If money’s tight, try the student salon at Phagens Cosmetology College, where you can score services like facials and manicures on the cheap.
Step seven: Find more places to loaf
The older I get, the more I appreciate the fine art of loafing around doing nothing. I shouldn’t say doing nothing, exactly. There’s a lot to be said for relaxing as you take in the scenery or do a bit of people watching.
Luckily, there are lots of places to do this in Bend. Find a barstool or outdoor table at your favorite brewpub along the Bend Ale Trail, then lounge around all day sipping local craft beer.
If the weather’s chilly, find a local fire pit and spend an evening toasting your toes and relaxing by the crackling flames. If the weather’s warm, park your booty in a lounge chair at one of the local swimming pools and watch the kids frolicking in the water.
Bend is also home to more than 70 public parks where you can snooze in the grass or lounge on a park bench. Check out this handy park map to find one closest to you (because we wouldn’t want you to have to exert yourself by traveling very far).
Now get out there and enjoy being lazy!